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Johnson vs. Jeffries "The Incomparable Prize Fight"

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A rare poster documenting a low point in history where a retired boxer came out of retirement to show the supremacy of whites over other races. James Jeffries came out of retirement to face the Heavyweight Champ Jack Johnson, who had assumed the title with his 1908 victory over Tommy Burns at Sydney, Australia. Jeffries made no bones about the reasoning behind his return to the squared circle. "I feel obligated to the sporting public at least to make an effort to reclaim the Heavyweight Championship for the white race. I should step into the ring again and demonstrate that a white man is king of them all." Of course, things did not go as Jeffries had hoped, and in a surprising show of humility he admitted after the fight that he could not have defeated Johnson in his prime. The reaction to Johnson's victory was immediate and violent. Across the country white gangs descended upon celebratory gatherings of African-Americans, leaving twenty murdered in their wake. Films of the fight, expected to generate thousands in extra revenue for both fighters, were impounded at ringside. And a calculated campaign against Johnson, and his "Unforgiveable Blackness," would begin, forcing the Heavyweight Champion into exile and, ultimately, the penitentiary. No black man would again be given an opportunity to compete for the Heavyweight title until 1937, when Joe Louis claimed the belt.